The word on the street (well Reddit actually) is that the BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos team today submitted the first qualifying solution for the Netflix Prize. If nobody submits a better solution within the next 30 days then they will claim the $1 million reward that has so far eluded the best efforts of thousands of programmers and researchers since the competition was launched in October 2006.
Netflix is a US-based online DVD rental service. One of their features is that they make movie recommendations to customers based on their previous viewing history. In order to improve their recommendations system, Netflix has been offering a million dollar reward to any individual or team that is able to develop software that increases the accuracy of these recommendations by at least 10%.
The financial rewards and intellectual challenge of the Netflix Prize have encouraged almost 50,000 individuals and teams to attempt to solve the problem using a vast array of different AI and data-mining techniques.
The BellKor team have overcome such obstacles as the Napolean Dynamite problem and will no doubt have the champagne on ice while they nervously wait to see if anybody else is able to surpass their results within the next month.